You did it. 🎉 You launched your business. You started selling products. You’re out here thriving like a boss… except, you’ve hit a plateau and you’re not seeing new clients or customers. It happens all. the. time. And I know, because it happened to me, too. Just like Troy says, “We’re all in this together.”
What’s the secret to increasing your clients and customers this year? Turns out, it’s a bunch of different things (typical) that all make up a strategy for analyzing what you’ve been doing right, leveraging your current platforms, and engaging with your community. Ready to get started? Here’s the game plan:
Crunch the Numbers
Before you can start building your strategies to increase your clients, customers, and/or viewers this year, you need to analyze your current numbers. How are people finding your site? What products are they buying from you? What pages are they clicking on and staying on the longest?
When I started my freelance business a few years ago, I kept putting my website on the back-burner — I had a static page up and I was still getting an odd client here or there, so I figured my time was better spent focusing on the clients I did have than worrying about a robust site or steady Instagram presence.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago, when I decided to start selling products. I needed an actual site with a working checkout page and a strategy. It was (way way way past) time. After putting the site together (with Squarespace!), I realized I had SO MUCH raw data that I could have been taking advantage of from the get go — to streamline my process, understand where my clients were actually coming from, and to increase my revenue stream.
I actually really enjoy looking at the analytics for my site now — geeking out on data is something I never thought I’d do — but there’s a first time for everything, amiright. I have the Squarespace Analytics app and like to check on-the-go to see how my site is doing while I’m not in front of my computer. I frequently use the app to check analytics after I’ve put up a specific instagram story or post to see if that directly affected the numbers. It’s addicting!
Analytics can be overwhelming and intimidating at first — what do all these tiny floating numbers and lines and graphs actually mean?! — but once you figure out a few key sections, everything starts falling into place. Get comfortable with the following areas in your analytics, which will help you craft a strategy to start boosting viewers, clients, and customers:
Traffic & Traffic Sources
This tells you how your viewer found your site. Did they see your latest Instagram post and click over? Did they organically search for you on Google? Did they see an ad on Facebook?
I use Squarespace (and have for years!), which has these analytics built into their backend (so you don’t need to connect a third party service). Based on my site’s analytics, my top traffic driver is Instagram — which tells me that what I’m doing there is working and that I should focus more effort there, because that’s where much of my audience is. I also found out that 16 percent of my site’s traffic comes from Facebook, which is crazy because I don’t have a business Facebook page and use my personal account very infrequently. So based on my analytics, I knew I needed to do some digging and find out if someone was linking to my site on Facebook — I could have a content referrer and not even realize!
You can also use analytics to see if people are clicking to your site from another site. For example, over the last month, 17 people have clicked over to my site from my Everygirl contributor page. This is valuable information!
Bounce rate are the percentage of people that leave your site after visiting only one page. Analyzing this will help you understand how people are interacting with your site and the intention of your viewers. Remember that your website functions sort of like a story — you’re guiding your viewers, customers, and clients through the story as they navigate through the site. You want to give them clear and actionable steps to take to bring them deeper into your site or to encourage them to stay longer on your blog, navigate to your product pages, etc. Your bounce rates will help you determine how well your site is working.
Similar to bounce rates, your popular content will show you how users are interacting with your site. Analyzing and picking apart this data is an essential first step to updating and tailoring your site for the ultimate viewer experience.
Use Referrals to Your Best Advantage
Referrals are HUGE for small businesses — especially in the social media and Instagram age. Each client you work with, customer you have, or viewer who visits your site has their own network — of followers, of friends, of colleagues — that might also be interested in what you have to offer.
Referrals can sometimes happen organically — because people will naturally be excited about the things you’re doing and want to share your work. Keep your eye out for these moments and make sure to re-share them anywhere that your audience is already — either on your social media, your website, or on your email list. Send your appreciation to the people that refer you simply because they had an amazing experience. These people are ANGELS, and part of fostering your community is establishing relationships with the clients, customers, and readers who are excited about you and what you’re doing. Be good to your audience and they will be good to you.
Outside of organic referrals, there are a few strategic ways you can incorporate feedback, reviews, and referrals into your growth strategy.
Set up an ‘exit’ survey
If you’re selling services — like graphic design — make your exit survey the last thing the client completes for you. If you’re selling physical products, link to the survey in your customer’s “order received / fulfilled” email. If you have a blog, send out your survey through an email list.
Get the survey in front of your audience and then analyze that data. Positive feedback can be added to your site and social — draw new customers and viewers in by proving that you’ve had successful sales and happy readers in the past!
An easy way to do this is to use Squarespace campaigns — I have an automated email that goes out to all my customers a few days after they make a purchase with links to a few other products and a request for feedback. It’s a great way for me to ensure my customers are happy and not running into any problems, as well as to gather reviews for my current products.
Utilize Instagram Stories Question Boxes / Polls
Do you answer polls on Instagram stories? I LOVE answering — it’s easy (just one click!) and fun to see your opinion being heard. Make use of this super easy and engaging feature — as well as the question box, opinion slider, etc. — to get real-time feedback from your audience with minimal effort on both sides. Win, win, win. We all win!
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your audience! Half the battle of referrals can be just marshaling the courage to ask your clients, customers, and viewers what they thought and if they would be willing to share their feelings. As long as you’re respectful about reaching out, it’s a great way to gauge how you’re doing and pull in some reviews to work with.
Publish your positive reviews
Leverage referrals by utilizing them across your site, social, and email campaigns — wherever your viewer eyeballs are. I like to use the Squarespace text block to add reviews to my site on a few different pages to help demonstrate to my audience that I can deliver a beautiful product. It can make a huge difference in boosting your viewers, clients, or sales!
Create a Social Engagement Plan
When I first started my freelance business, I felt this overwhelming anxiety about needing to be on every possible social media channel. But all that really happened was I set up a business account on everything I could think of and then promptly ran out of time to really leverage them for success, so eventually they were just ghost towns with no sign of life.
Don’t be me — use your current analytics (per my tips above) to hone in on what social channels are actually producing a result. What channels are already working for you? Try to hone in on the top one or two to start and create a strategy for how to up your engagement on those key channels.
Refining the way I use Instagram has changed my business exponentially in the past few months. When I started, I had an Instagram account that I posted to once every few days — it was the definition of an afterthought. When I decided to get more serious about my website and began selling products, I realized there was a huge wasted opportunity with my account. I challenged myself to post every single day (and gave myself the grace to forget a day or two — you’re only human and sometimes after-work drinks take priority) and saw a boost in traffic to my site from Instagram and a corresponding boost in sales. It wasn’t rocket science, it just took time and effort.
Once you figure out which social platforms are working best for you — i.e., giving you the best return on your time investment — make sure your audience has a clear way to find you on those platforms. Add social blocks to your website and use your social links in your email signature, for a start.
Maximize Your Email List
Your email list is a HUGE resource, especially in terms of upping your website traffic, driving sales, and engaging your community of loyal followers. While Instagram and Facebook — and many other social channels — can be amazing traffic drivers, the reality is that you don’t own those platforms and they can (and do) change frequently. What is working one day might not work the next. But you DO own your email list, and it’s one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal. That sounds ~dramatic~ but IT TRULY IS MAGIC.
I use Squarespace campaigns because it integrates seamlessly with my site and allows me to create automations based on purchases customers have made. Automated emails can save you SO MUCH time, because you’re not individually sending emails to each of your subscribers. If you’re selling products, Squarespace also offers a great feature which will automatically send an email to a customer who put a product in their cart, but then didn’t finish checking out. Bringing your product back to the top of mind for your consumer can drive those sales you might have otherwise lost. Here are some ideas to get you started with your email list:
- Add an email subscription block to a few strategic places on your site. Make it easy for viewers to find and sign up!
- Create a reason for people to sign up for your email list. Offer a code for 10 precent off. Create a download only available to newsletter subscribers. Tease exclusive content that will go out in your newsletter every week. No one wants a cluttered inbox, so you need to give your audience some enticement.
- Try filtering your list into different sections — returning customers, subscribers who signed up from Instagram, etc. Then you can target different sections of your audience with specific emails.
- Create an email calendar and brainstorm ideas for for newsletters that add value for your audience. Things like behind-the scenes, weekly roundups, collaborations and discounts, freebies and downloads, etc.
Foster a Community
At the end of the day, the biggest thing you have going for you is always going to be that you are YOU — a completely unique person in the world. Your voice, your brand, and your ideas — everything that you bring to the table — are a huge part of why your audience is engaging with and following your journey.
Make time every week to ask your audience questions, respond to their comments, seek out what they are doing and leave your own comments. Try and make your brand or business a destination for a community. A place that people want to be. That’s the secret sauce to retaining the viewers, clients, and customers you already have and reaching more and more people.
Authenticity is key here — don’t fake it. Don’t use bots to leave comments for you or leave a stock answer every time. Be thoughtful. Be personal. When you expend the effort, your audience will thank you by deepening and growing.
What are your strategies for increasing your clients or viewers? Tell us in the comments below!
This post was in partnership with Squarespace, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.